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    Gulf NRIs upbeat about proxy voting bill

    Synopsis

    According to estimates of the ministry of external affairs, there are about 3.10 crore NRIs living in different countries across the world.

    Many NRIs are hopeful that they will be able to exercise their franchise in the Lok Sabha elections in 2019 through proxy voters appointed by them.
    Non-resident Indians, especially those living and working in the West Asian countries, are upbeat about the passage of the Bill to extend the facility of 'proxy voting' to them, by the Lok Sabha in the recently concluded Monsoon session of parliament. If the Representation of the People (Amendment) Bill 2017, which was passed by the lower house by a voice vote, is discussed and passed by the Rajya Sabha in the winter session of parliament, many NRIs are hopeful that they will be able to exercise their franchise in the Lok Sabha elections in 2019 through proxy voters appointed by them, on the same lines as Indian defence personnel are authorised to do.

    According to estimates of the ministry of external affairs, there are about 3.10 crore NRIs living in different countries across the world.

    Expressing happiness over the development, Dr Shamsheer Vayalil, UAE-based doctor and chairman of VPS Healthcare, who in 2013 along with Nagender Chindam of UK, had filed a PIL in the Supreme Court seeking e-voting rights for NRIs, feels that there is a light of hope at last that the thousands of NRIs who are connected to India through their love and affection and send back millions of dollars in remittances, will be recognised for their contribution and will have a say in the political and policy making process of the Indian democracy. “It has been a long process through court hearings and lobbying by many people. But at last we get the feeling that the Indian government is taking us seriously and listening to our voices. Across all political dispensations, no one is opposed to giving NRIs the right to vote,” he told ET Magazine from London.

    Addressing the concerns over proxy voting and the possibility of the misuse of the facility, P.V. Radhakrishna Pillai, president of the Bahrain Keraleeya Samajam and Pravasi Samman awardee, said that this was a landmark Bill by which the government is seeking to recognise the contribution of the NRIs towards the country and should not be undermined. “Ä system of checks and balances will definitely be worked into the final system by the Election Commission to address the concerns over using proxies,” he added. In his opinion, over time, the system should gradually move to secure e-voting which has been adopted by 114 countries for citizens living abroad.

    UAE-based billionaire businessman Dr BR Shetty too expressed the hope that the Bill would be passed before the 2019 elections thus giving a sense of empowerment to the thousands of NRIs in the Gulf and across the world.


    NRIs can, at present, cast their votes in the constituencies where they were registered, which means they have to travel to India on voting day.

    6 Comments on this Story

    zulu_zombie898 days ago
    Congress and it''s allies are against such a move which even further dent their future in the electorate game.
    Krishna MN898 days ago
    Definitely Gulf NRIs must be upbeat about proxy voting bill as they continue to be only Indian citizen even if they lived there since they are not allowed that country Citizen ship like USA.It''s good move by Modi government to allow proxy vote.
    Bala898 days ago
    Though we are remitting millions of rupees/dollars, there is no proper support for NRI/NRE''s and also no benefits. This government had reduced/cut the interest rates drastically. Hence, we are afraiding to deposit in FD/SB/Mutual Fund etc. Hence, there is no suggestion for proxy voting.
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